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Kushner Details West Wing War And Toxic Bannon In New Book; Manchin-Schumer Agreement Resurrects Biden's Climate, Energy Tax Agenda; Robb Elementary Principal Returns To Work After Brief Suspension; Justice Alito Mocks Foreign Critics Of Decision To Overturn Roe. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired July 29, 2022 - 15:30   ET



JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: One the episodes one of the episodes Jared Kushner describes in his forthcoming book is where he and Gary Cohn, President Trump's then chief economic adviser are talking to Bannon, urging him to stop leaking to the press about Gary Cohn. And here's what Jared Kushner writes Bannon told him.

Quote: Cohn's the one leaking on me, Jared, right now you're the one undermining the president's agenda, he continued, his eyes intense, and voice escalating into a yell. And then Bannon goes on, and if you go against me, I will break you in half, don't f*** with me.

Now Jared Kushner says in this book that he was quote, woefully unprepared for this media war that he was engaging in with Steve Bannon. But at the same time, the reality is that Jared Kushner very often did come out on top in so many of these feuds. He stayed with Donald Trump in the White House throughout those four years. Steve Bannon though was fired after just eight months in the White House.

And Jared Kushner takes some credit in this book for getting Bannon fired saying that at least that was one thing he was able to accomplish early in President Trump's tenure. Jared also describes moments where he and Steven Miller and Hope Hicks were joking about having to take on the responsibility of leaking to different reporters after Bannon was fired. So there certainly was no love lost there. Of course, Bannon while he was out of the White House, eventually he did get back in Trump's good graces we know through all of this reporting over the January 6th investigation that Bannon was very much there advising President Trump in those final days in office.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: Jeremy Diamond, thank you very much.

Alice Stewart is a CNN political commentator, former communications director for Republican Senator Ted Cruz. Hoppy Kercheval is the host of "MetroNews Talkline" on West Virginia radio, and Abby Phillip, is a CNN senior political correspondent, and host of "INSIDE POLITICS SUNDAY." Welcome to you all.

Hoppy, you had a really interesting conversation with Senator Joe Manchin about his seeming reversal -- I know he takes issue on that -- on this legislation about climate change and corporate minimum tax and the rest. Let's set the table here with what the Senator said to Manu Raju two weeks ago on why he was not ready to support the legislation.


SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): I said Chuck, can we just wait until the inflation figures come out in July. Until basically the fed rate, the reserve, are they going to raise interest, how much more and how much damage is that going to be, and then make a decision what we can do and how much we can do.


BLACKWELL: Actually, that's the clip that he said that to you on July 15th. What changed? Why the reversal now?

HOPPY KERCHEVAL, HOST, METRONEWS TALKLINE WEST VIRGINIA RADIO: I asked him that same question. First of all, Manchin would say, and did say, that he didn't change at all, that he's the same place he has always been, number one.

The second thing was that he went through the bill, his staff, and they scrubbed all the stuff in there that was supposed to be inflationary.

And third, and I think the overriding point is that Manchin is always willing to negotiate. He wants a deal. And I think it was kind of unfairly portrayed that he walked away. I don't think he walked away. I think he was always ready to negotiate, and obviously they continue negotiations and ended up with a bill that Manchin thinks is beneficial to the country and beneficial to West Virginia with a lot of fossil fuel things in there, protections for fossil fuel, and benefits for fossil fuel that he vowed to fight for. So, I think he ended up continuing to talk about it and ended up with what he believes is a win for the state and for the country.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: Hoppy, did he understand or know that it was going to set off this domino effect yesterday of Republicans withdrawing their support from the, you know, burn pit victims/veterans and now Senator Collins saying the Republicans might withdraw their support for same-sex marriage. Did Senator Manchin know that that was all going to happen?

KERCHEVAL: I can't answer that. We did not get into that in the interview. But one thing Manchin always comes back to is the quest for an agreement and bipartisanship. He and Mitch McConnell, I don't think, exchange Christmas cards, I don't think that they're on great terms. So, I don't know whether he considered that or not. It did not come up in our interview. I think he's been solely focused for the last couple of weeks on trying to get this bill.

BLACKWELL: Abby, the fallout after Joe Manchin is now on board with this legislation, he calls it his bill, the Inflation Reduction Act has been multifaceted. But also, it's not a done deal. We have not heard from Senator Sinema yet.

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Right. We haven't heard specifically from Senator Sinema. Whether she would actually vote to support the bill. But I do think that the noises that are coming from her office are that she needs to read it and examine it a little bit more. But I don't think that there are any sort of loud red flags coming out about this.


And frankly, you know, her position and Manchin's position are not terribly different in terms of the political dynamics that they're both facing. And notably, a lot of the part that she might have opposed, you know, tax increases, for example, aren't part of the compromise at this point. So, I think Democrats are feeling pretty good about where this is headed. I don't think you would be hearing the kind of optimism that you're hearing if they didn't field pretty good.

And at the end of the day, I mean, what's notable about this is that getting a deal done today in 2022 is the same as it's always been. Everybody has to give up a little bit and that is exactly what happened to produce something that Manchin could support. And notably, on the Democratic side, on the liberal side, they got to a point where they were willing to just take whatever Manchin was offering, and that was enough for them.

CAMEROTA: Alice let's talk about the fallout -- let me pose my question, and then you can say it. The fallout from this in terms of Republicans withdrawing their support for the Pact Act, which is the money that would go to all of our veterans who were victims of those burn pits who now are suffering with cancer and all sorts of breathing problems. 41 Republicans did not vote for it. 25 who had voted for it just last month withdrew their support. Let me quickly play Jon Stewart because he spoke for those veterans yesterday and their outrage.


JON STEWART, COMEDIAN AND ACTIVISTS: America's heroes who fought in our wars outside sweating their asses off with oxygen, battling all kinds of ailments while these. (BEEP) sit in the air-conditioning walled off from any of it.


CAMEROTA: Alice, what about that, I mean, why would Republicans make them political pawns?

ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: First off, Alisyn, bravo to Jon Stewart for all he's done from the very beginning to support these veterans and the illnesses that they have incurred after fighting for our country. And look, Republicans have supported the Pact Act in the past and making sure the money goes exactly to where it should go.

The change has been, Alisyn, in the recent revisions of this is money was transferred from a discretionary to mandatory, and there is a money gimmick that the Democrats put in this which meant that basically $40 billion is going to be used for things that are not directly related to these veterans. That's the concern. CAMEROTA: That's really truly what you think this is about. You don't

think it's payback for what they thought -- what they said was Manchin's sort of like behind closed door negotiations.

STEWART: Absolutely not. They are frustrated with the fact this money has been diverted to other purposes and in this time where we do not need to be spending extra money, this is not the way to go about doing it. These Republicans support the money going to veterans that have these illnesses. That is not disputed. I encourage everyone to go to Pat Toomey's floor speech on this. He talks about this very explicitly on the fact they do support this.

If anything, was if I was Jon Stewart and others, I would be frustrated that Democrats are using this issue as a shield for other projects and other budgetary matters. If I can talk quickly about Manchin, Hoppy's reporting on this has been stellar, and I encourage folks to go and follow him and his latest writings on this are important saying that Manchin has been negotiating all along.

What I am interested to see is how this impacts him in West Virginia, a red state, he has been very popular in that state, but in his recent reporting, he says back in the larger spending package, Build Back Better package was out, 60 percent, nearly 70 percent of people in West Virginia would support him, but that number would go down to 60 percent if he were to support some type of negotiated spending plan, which is what we're talking about here.

And the question is why did he do it. And what we see in Washington, love affairs are very transactional, and he went from hero to zero with those on the right, and now he goes from zero to hero with those on the left because of this, and it'll be interesting to see how Kyrsten Sinema supports this, and whether or not we get this across the finish line.

BLACKWELL: Yes, we're also hearing from the junior Senator there in West Virginia, Shelley Moore Capito who says she was surprised by this, that it's bad for the state. We'll see what's the fallout is there in West Virginia.

Alice Stewart, Hoppy Kercheval, Abby Phillip, thank you.

CAMEROTA: Following a short suspension, the principal of Robb Elementary School has been fully reinstated. She was placed on leave after an investigation determined that she knew about the security issues at the school before the deadly mass shooting. How the community is responding now.



BLACKWELL: The principal of Robb Elementary who was suspended earlier this week is back to work now. Her attorney confirmed her return to CNN. Mandy Gutierrez faced criticism about her handling of school security before the mass shooting that left 19 children and two teachers dead. CAMEROTA: CNN's Rosa Flores has been following this story. Rosa, we

all watched your interview with the principal this week, so what have you learned about all of this?

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, this suspension was very brief. And what we learned is from that Texas House investigative committee report, it was very critical of the principal in particular. Yes, it spoke broadly about some of the failures that were happening for the entire Uvalde school district, but it mentioned the principal specifically. And it criticized her for what it called, quote, a culture of noncompliance with safety at her school, and also for spotty wi-fi. And also, because she didn't pick up the intercom and initiate the lockdown, at that point in time, when she figured that there was some sort of spotty cell phone service with the application, she was trying to use to initiate that lockdown.

Well, she wrote a letter to the Texas House investigative committee, and to the school district as well, defending herself, just like she did in our interview. She among many other things said that she did not foster a culture of noncompliance with safety protocols. And also, regarding the use of the intercom system, she said that she didn't use that because it went against her training to do so.


She said that in her training -- active shooter training that she received -- that they told her that it would create panic for students, and also alert the gunman. Her attorney issuing a statement saying quote, vindication is not what she sought. She sought merely to be allowed to continue her efforts to assist in the healing process for the families in the community she loves. Goes on to say, she understands and respects that the grieving process might involve anger. That is a natural reaction, and she respects and empathizes with everything those affected are going through.

Now, some of the families are very angry about this. I received a statement from Javier Cazares. He's the father of Jacqueline Cazares, one of the victims.

He says quote: Again, it's another slap to our faces and to our baby's faces. Being the person in charge she should have made sure that school was safe, and she failed at her job bottom line. It goes to show you how Uvalde works. They will do anything to protect themselves and forget the children.

Now, the principal gets to keep her job, but Alisyn and Victor, she doesn't get to be principal of Robb Elementary School because Robb Elementary School will not be opening in the fall.

BLACKWELL: So where will the kids go? School's going to reopen, classes will resume in a few weeks.

FLORES: You know what, the school district is trying to do is to place those students at other schools within the district. The superintendent issuing a video message showing some of the new fencing that's going to go up around all the schools, and also, some of the portable buildings that will be used as classrooms. But Alisyn and Victor, there's a lot of hesitation from the parents in Uvalde. They're actually pushing for virtual schooling instead of brick and mortar schooling. Now the school has already delayed the start of the school year from August 15th to September 6th.

CAMEROTA: Well, we can certainly understand the parents' anxiety about going back into a building. Rosa Flores, thank you very much for all of the developments.

Meanwhile, conservative Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito is speaking out for the first time since the court overturned Roe v. Wade, and he's mocking foreign officials who criticized the decision.



BLACKWELL: Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito is speaking publicly for the first time since writing the opinion that reversed Roe v. Wade.

CAMEROTA: Speaking in Rome, Justice Alito mocked foreign critics of the ruling.


JUSTICE SAMUEL ALITO, SUPREME COURT: They had the honor this term of writing I think the only Supreme Court decision in the history of that institution that has been lambasted by a whole string of foreign leaders.

One of these was of former Prime Minister Boris Johnson, but he paid the price.

What really wounded me was when the Duke of Sussex addressed the United Nations and seemed to compare the decision whose name may not be spoken with the Russian attack on Ukraine.


CAMEROTA: CNN Supreme Court analyst Joan Biskupic joins us now. So, he seemed to be -- while there was sarcasm there, what else did he say?

JOAN BISKUPIC, CNN SUPREME COURT ANALYST: You know, Alisyn and Victor, this is such classic Samuel Alito even though it was the first time he'd spoken out since the Dobbs decision. These were very familiar themes he was striking. The speech overall was about religious liberty and bemoaning secularism in America.

But Samuel Alito exudes a sense of aggrievement even when he is winning. He was the one who wrote that Dobbs decision. He held onto five votes, a bare majority, to overturn nearly a half century of abortion rights nationwide, reversing the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.

But, even more broadly, he is part of a court super majority that keeps moving further and further to the right on religious liberty questions. Ordering more public funding of religious schools and requiring more prayer in public places. As you remember, they sided with the coach from Washington state who wanted to kneel and say a pray on the 50-yard line. So, there's something about Samuel Alito that even though in that speech, Alisyn, it sounded like he was losing. He is getting his way for the law in America here.

CAMEROTA: Aggrievement even when winning. That is an interesting term and it rings a bill. Joan Biskupic thank you very much.

BISKUPIC: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: More missing texts from the days leading up to January 6th. "The Washington Post " says conversations between former President Trump's homeland security officials were lost. More on that ahead.



BLACKWELL: This week's CNN hero, Carie Broecker, is on a mission to help seniors of all kind.


CARIE BROECKER, PEACE OF MIND DOG RESCUE: Peace of mind dog rescue has a dual mission. Helping senior dogs and senior people. We take in dogs from senior citizens who can no longer care for them or who have passed away. And we also take in senior dogs from animal shelters.

BROECKER: Yes. Definitely a peace of mind dog.

BROECKER: We have found homes for almost 3,000 dogs. And we have helped close to 2,000 senior citizens.


BROECKER: In our society, sometimes the elderly, whether that is senior people or senior dogs, get ignored. And so, we really want to cherish all of life.


CAMEROTA: To see more of Carie's story, go to

OK, brace yourself, everyone, for candy shortages coming this Halloween. Hershey's says it won't be able to make enough candy for Halloween because of supply chain issues.

BLACKWELL: All my, first it was the Choco Taco, now this. All right, now here are fixes with the candy company should prioritize --

CAMEROTA: You are giving them a solution.

BLACKWELL: Yes, OK, for me, Reese's. Come on, y'all. Figure it out. You can get rid of Good and Plenty. It's not that good, we got plenty already

CAMEROTA: OK, here are my picks. Save the Cadbury Carmelo and sacrifice Mounds.

BLACKWELL: You don't like Mounds it all.

CAMEROTA: I know, but is that one of your favorites?


BLACKWELL: It is not. I like it, though. But my producer Randy went out, and it's Cadbury. It's not Carmelo because we couldn't find it but --

CAMEROTA: I'll take it.

BLACKWELL: It's still Cadbury.

CAMEROTA: Thank you. This is so wonderful. Come on, Hershey. You have one job, one job. Keep the candy for Halloween. OK, it'll be like us running out of news before 4:00 p.m. We don't do that. Except for today.

BLACKWELL: Go ahead.

CAMEROTA: Oh, "THE LEAD" with Jake Tapper starts right now.